The use of affirmations is very helpful in treatment, particularly as it gives clients the opportunity to take ownership of their own wellbeing and effect changes for themselves. I often suggest to my clients that they do affirmations at home in order to help them move forward in their therapy. The reason for this is that there is only so much you can do in the therapy – 50 minutes is not a long period of time to make long-lasting changes in your life. And, many psychotherapists give homework tasks in order to help their clients in difficult situations at home. My recommendation is that affirmations be used as a form of self help, and when the individual is calm. However, they can also be used in the troublesome situations—during moments of panic, after an argument, or in a stressful situation—in order to calm things down. The latter, of course, is much more difficult to control.
So what are affirmations?
We all have some sort of internal dialogue which narrates or accompanies us during the day and in the evening. A huge number of clients tell me that they have negative thoughts, or ruminations, which affect the way that they feel, think and behave. Affirmations, by contrast, are statements which are helpful to the client. The following list provides some examples of affirmations to be used in arrange of different situations:
* I am an excellent speaker.
* Exercise will keep my mind and body healthy.
* With each new breath that I take, I inhale calmness and ease, and exhale fear.
* My bowels are strong and healthy.
* How I feel matters and that’s why I choose to focus on things that make me happy.
* I am capable of solving problems in my own way.
The above affirmations are suitable for the treatment of anxiety, IBS and depression, but these are just examples: one can be as creative as possible when writing the affirmations. Some people prefer short statements, while others write longer, more specific affirmations. Indeed, one can combine these affirmations with mantras which can be repeated throughout the day. The most important thing about affirmations is that the person doing them must believe in them: this is why it is so important to do the affirmations in front of a mirror. It is also recommended that individuals say each affirmation with conviction. Watch your body language as you say the statements; it is vital that every part of you means what you say.
David Kraft, Enfield Psychotherapy & Hypnotherapy